Retargeting is the kind of tried and true behavioral targeting tool that is associated most with consumer retailers as they try to recapture some of the customers their SEO/SEM and banner programs first attracted to their site. B2B service companies may not seem like a natural fit for the method.
When customer community and support provider Get Satisfaction first looked at the model, it was admittedly skeptical. The company doesn't do SEM or large banner campaigns to find customers, and it tends to focus on small to medium businesses. "Our primary online customer acquisition strategy relies on a content-driven approach," says Jeff Nolan, vice president of product marketing. The company is looking mainly for companies that are providing Web-based apps with a platform for getting feedback from users and get idea submissions.
Relative to other companies that would tend to use retargeting, "they are looking for a small group they want to bring on," says Arjun Dev Arora, CEO and founder of ReTargeter, which developed a program with Get Satisfaction after an initial test delivered strong results. Recounting how the program worked, Arora says that it started with an understanding of how traffic flowed through the Get Satisfaction site once the existing content marketing and social media programs had gotten eyeballs there. "It doesn't make sense to tag the whole site," says Arora -- instead, ReTargeter needed to find the places where people are most engaged and most likely to convert.
ReTargeter charges $500 a month for every 10,000 unique users targeted. Arora says the models allows the company greater flexibility in targeting frequency and tracking attribution to advertiser for clients on the best sites possible. "With CPC pricing, people will look to buy the cheapest inventory possible and may show ads even after someone has clicked."
Over the course of the first three months of the campaign, performance increased as the creative and the placement were optimized against A/B testing performed along the way. Get Satisfaction generated the creative, but the call to action and design evolved over time. The designs became cleaner and the call to action more direct, especially in the third month, when performance increased most markedly. Generally, Arora says, "we find that either blue or red buttons with white text and rounded corners do well and get people to click."
In optimizing around sites, the campaign doubled the number of sites used, a tactic of increasing reach that ordinarily does not increase ROI. In this case it did, however, as the creative also improved and the frequency capping evolved from an unlimited model at the beginning to a cap of three times a day per user as the campaign progressed.
The returns demonstrated the value of optimization on the creative, placement, frequency and bidding axes. "In the first month, we showed 104% ROI for the client, just from getting the creative up and not much optimization," says Arora. "In month two, we did some bidding optimization and got to 160% ROI. In month three, with a creative update and some frequency modifications, we got 248% ROI. As we captured more data and understood how campaign landing pages performed, we optimized and improved."
According to Nolan, Get Satisfaction discovered that this approach can work for a b2b company targeting a relatively small audience of leads. "The numbers are about 2X what we expected and probably an order of magnitude better than we would do with traditional banner ads," he says. Nolan also found that the retargeting approach merits a bigger spend. "What retargeting has revealed is that it can be a very cost effective way of acquiring customers if you have your other online marketing efforts operating with a baseline level of efficiency," he says. "We will spend more on retargeting as we increase our investment in social content. We would like to increase our investment, providing we can scale the conversions linearly."